FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets are sticking with fan favorite Mike White at quarterback for at least another week.
With a choice between White and highly touted rookie Zach Wilson, who is returning from a knee injury, coach Robert Saleh decided to roll with the hot hand. Saleh, who made the announcement Wednesday, also cited Wilson’s injury as a factor in the decision.
Joe Flacco, acquired by the Jets from the Philadelphia Eagles after Wilson’s injury, is likely to be active for the first time, as the Jets’ backup to White on Sunday, Saleh said.
White, who electrified the offense in two starts as an injury replacement, will face the first-place Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. His right-forearm injury from last Thursday night won’t prevent him from practicing Wednesday.
Wilson, too, is expected to practice for the first time since spraining his right PCL Oct. 24 on against the New England Patriots — a two- to four-week injury, the team said. His development is paramount for the franchise, which drafted him second overall, but Saleh is taking a conservative approach with regard to Wilson’s injury.
White’s unexpectedly sharp play allows him that luxury. The former practice squad quarterback, in his first NFL start, passed for 405 yards and set a league record for most completions (37) by a first-time starter, lifting the Jets to a come-from-behind upset over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 31. With Wilson still recovering, White got another start last Thursday night, but he lasted only one quarter. He banged his forearm on a defender and left the game after throwing a touchdown to rookie Elijah Moore.
Unable to grip the ball, with numbness in his fingers, White never returned to the game. He finished 7-for-11, with 95 yards and one touchdown. Third-stringer Josh Johnson finished the game, a 45-30 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Wilson, handed the starting job with no competition in the preseason, has lost five of six starts. He has completed only 57.5% of his passes, with four touchdowns and nine interceptions. His Total QBR is 28.0, which ranks 32nd out of 33 qualifying passers. The only quarterback with a lower QBR is Chicago Bears rookie Justin Fields (27.4).
The offense, historically poor in the first six games, started clicking as soon as White entered the lineup and it continued with Johnson. The Jets have scored 64 points in the past two games; they had only 80 points in the first six.